No one likes to go to the dentist and this fact is never truer than when it comes to children. Kids today are savvier than ever and the traditional cheap toy treasure box hardly does the job anymore. Keeping your kiddie clientele happy doesn’t have to break the bank or include dancing clowns, however. There are a ton of inexpensive and creative ways to ensure they leave with attitudes as bright as their smiles.
First Thing's First
The first experience your patients have in your office is your staff and waiting area. The front desk person has the job of greeting each and every patient in a friendly, comforting manner and children are no exception. Take special consideration during the hiring process to make sure the person you hire for the job is comfortable with children and has a knack for making them feel at ease.
Another big part of the first impression is the waiting area. Many dental facilities make the mistake of leaving out the children’s perspective here. A few children’s books in the waiting room does not a child friendly area make. Dedicate and entire area to your children’s practice by placing child-sized furniture and adequate distractions like children’s television programming, an activity table and books and magazines geared to a variety of age brackets.
Often children will enjoy their stay in the waiting room and become terrified once they enter the exam room. Assuage some of those stress factors by affording some simple comforts. Make it your practice to allow kids to bring a special toy or security blanket into the exam or offer an office stuffed animal and explain that he is scared too and needs to be held during the exam.
Giving children a bit of control over their experience also helps to ease some of their fears. Ask them which flavor of fluoride gel to use, or which smell of scented exam gloves they like best. This allows them to have a hand in what’s going on and comforts some of their fear of the unknown.
And, taking x-rays is probably one of the more frightening procedures you will perform on kids. Forget using those overly complicated film and x-ray holder systems. They are big, bulky and scary, especially if you need to have the child put it in their mouths. Not only is it frightening for children, but you in most case won’t get the x-ray you need. Try simpler-to-use alternatives like Flaps Bite Tabs from Microcopy. They’re child tested and hygienist approved.
Tailor Your Explanations
Just as it is important to explain your procedures to your adult patients, it is also important for your child patients. The difference is in the wording. Obviously, children do not understand complex dental terms or even some not so complex terms but its important for their comfort level to know and understand all that is about to happen to them. Use words they can understand and explain each step of the process.
Implementing these easy tasks into your practice not only comforts the children but also makes the parents aware of just how much you value your child patients.